Posts Tagged ‘Woodrow Wilson’
Calling all History teachers! Don’t let this week go by without talking to your students about World War I. This Thursday, April 6, marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ declaration of war on Germany. On April 2nd, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson had asked Congress for the declaration, stating that it would be a “war to end all wars” and that it would “make the world safe for democracy.” All-out war had been raging in Europe since August 1914. Wilson had kept America out of the fighting, even after the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915, which had 128 Americans on board. Germany had resumed unrestricted submarine (U-Boat) warfare on all commercial ships heading toward Britain. In addition, British Intelligence intercepted a secret German diplomatic communication, called the Zimmermann Telegram, which proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico. These events, plus the fact that the United States had loaned massive amounts of money to the allies and feared it would not get that money back if the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) won, tipped the scales in favor of war.
The Selective Service Act was signed May 18, 1917. In the United States, over 9-and-a half million men, ages 21 to 31, signed up at their local draft boards. One of those men was my grandfather, Thomas Young Mason. Tom was a 30-year-old farmer from Logan County, Kentucky, when he signed his draft card on June 5, 1917. The reason I know this is because I found a copy of his draft card while searching AncestryLibrary.com, available via ProQuest. I was surprised at how easy it was to find information about my grandfather. I can’t say that I know a lot about his time during the Great War. He died years before I was born, and my family never was much for telling war stories. I do, however, have some nice photographs of him in his WWI uniform. I also have, at home in my basement, the very hat he was wearing in those photos.
My grandfather was one of the lucky ones who made it home from the War. Europeans bore the brunt of the casualties with 9 million military men killed and over 30 million wounded. World War I was one of the most tragic events in modern world history, and the “peace” that was reached at its end led directly to the Second World War.
eLibrary has many resources teachers can use to explain this momentous time in world History. A really good high school lesson plan called “Wilson & American Entry into World War I” can be found at EDSITEment!, a National Endowment for the Humanities website. While you and your students are conducting research on this topic, don’t forget to check out ProQuest’s awesome Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War, a digital collection of writings produced near the trenches and on the home front. During this 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, it might be a good idea to take some time out from your regular class assignments and get your students involved in a discussion on this timely topic. One idea would be to have your class watch the American Experience documentary “The Great War,” which premieres on PBS April 10.
While Woodrow Wilson often gets credit for the phrase “the war to end all wars,” delivered during his April 1917 speech before Congress, many historians assume that he got the idea from a 1914 book by H.G. Wells entitled “The War That Will End War.”
The United States officially declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917. Twenty-four years later, on December 7, 1941, FDR asked Congress for a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan, marking America’s entry into World War II.
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March 15 is most famous as the day Julius Caesar got whacked in the Senate by Brutus and conspirators in 44 BC. (You can read about the “Ides of March” in an item posted on this blog a couple of years ago: click, please) But what else happened on this day? Well, keep reading and follow the links embedded in the text to see Research Topics and other resources in eLibrary.
-1848: The Hungarian Revolution broke out. Led by fiery journalist Louis Kossuth and spurred on by a Kossuth-inspired uprising in Vienna, protesters took to the streets, demanding freedom of the press, an independent government and more. The revolt was at the beginning of more than a year of unrest in the Habsburg Empire that saw Austrians, Hungarians, Slovenes, Poles and others attempting to gain independence. The Hungarian Revolution was part of a wave of revolts, known collectively as the Revolutions of 1848, which swept across Europe. The contagious nature of these events would be seen again a century and a half later in the Revolutions of 1989 and the Arab Spring in 2011. (While we’re at it, bonus uprising: Hungarian Revolution of 1956.)
-1913: Woodrow Wilson held the first U.S. presidential press conference … by accident. The new president was scheduled to meet members of the press one by one to develop a rapport like that he had with journalists when he was governor of New Jersey. Because of the large number of reporters who showed up, he decided to address them collectively, initiating what has become the regular way presidents communicate with the press and the American people.
1917: Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia, abdicated. Years of hardship in Russia due to involvement in World War I brought about the February Revolution, part of the Russian Revolution, in which waves of strike and protests against the government broke out. Nicholas came to the decision that his rule was untenable, and he gave up power. Later that year, as the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution, Nicholas and his family were imprisoned and later executed. Only in 2008 were the bones of all of the victims positively identified, putting an end to rumors that a couple of them escaped.
1944: The Third Battle of Monte Cassino began. In January of 1944, during the Italian Campaign of World War II, the Allies began a bloody operation to break through the Germans’ Gustave Line and get to Rome. The third of these assaults involved a huge amount of bombing that destroyed the town of Cassino. After a fourth assault, the Germans were finally driven out, but at the cost of 55,000 Allied casualties.
And how about this for up-to-the-minute?: Pope Francis is scheduled to have meeting with Catholic cardinals TODAY at which he is expected to sign the papers to officially declare Mother Teresa a saint.